It is not as though we lack opportunities to talk about what Nazis and Nazism mean in the contemporary world; one shouldn’t simply put them in a box marked “unique” and never apply the lessons of their period to anythingafter all that suffering, to learn nothing. (For that matter, we aren’t even done with accusations of Nazism in the proper-noun sense: see the trial of John Demjanjukyes, he’s still alivewhich is continuing on a troubling course in Germany; an additional indictment was filed against him in Spain just yesterday.) But one shouldn’t be silly about it, or else one should be frankly sillysurreal, evenas with the Soup Nazi or the brilliant and illuminating “Downfall” parodies that have populated YouTube. That sort of thing is not only harmless, but valuablea humane expression of our engagement with our past and future, and with each other. Unfortunately, the only parody Cohen managed was unintentional self-parody.
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